High hedge disputes
Before you make a complaint
Before making a complaint, you should take these steps to try and sort the problem out yourself:
You should first speak or write to your neighbour. Explain what the problem is and how it's affecting you. You need to make at least three attempts, with at least two in writing before you complain. These attempts need to have been made less than four months before the date you submit a complaint.
Check the government's advice on resolving hedge disputes yourself.
If you cannot resolve the issue yourself, you need to speak to a third-party mediation group. These groups provide someone to help you and your neighbour overcome the problem.
High hedge complaints
We deal with complaints about high hedges within the borough.
Get extra guidance for making a high hedge complaint
To make a complaint, the hedge must:
- be made up of at least two evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs in a line
- be at least two metres high from ground level
- block light from your home or garden
The hedge must not have any significant gaps in it.
The fee for making a complaint is £636.60.
Make a complaint
To make a complaint, you need to fill out this form high hedge complaints form (PDF) [143KB] .
You will also need to provide a:
- site plan with the hedge marked on it. This should be to scale and show relevant measurements for the site and the hedge. It should also include the direction of north
You can then return the form to:
High hedges - planning services
Guildford Borough Council
You will also need to make a credit or debit card payment of £600. You can either do this in person at our offices, or by phoning 01483 505050.
Make sure to check our guidance notes (PDF) [75KB] (opens new window) before you complete the form.
How we deal with your complaint
Valid complaints are given to a caseworker, who will book a visit to the site. They will let all owners know at least one day before a visit takes place.
The caseworker will visit the site to:
- make sure all the information in the complaint is correct
- make a judgment about the high hedge
Once the caseworker has seen the evidence, they will write a report recommending what action will be taken. The development control manager then decides how the case will proceed.
What happens if we uphold your complaint?
If we decide to support your complaint, we'll issue a remedial notice.
A remedial notice explains why we're supporting the complaint and tells the owner what actions they must take. We usually ask them to trim the hedge. We cannot ask them to remove a hedge or cut it below two metres. The notice also sets a deadline for these actions.
The second part of the notice tells the owner of the hedge what they have to do to stop the problem happening again. They'll also be told what will happen if they do not take these actions in time.
The remedial notice gets sent to:
- the person who makes the complaint
- the person who owns the land the hedge is on
- any neighbours affected by the decision
A remedial notice is registered as a local land charge for the time it is valid.
It's possible that the owner will do something to permanently solve the problem. This can happen either before or after the remedial notice is issued. If this happens, we'll withdraw, dismiss, or relax the terms of the remedial notice. We'll notify you and the hedge owner of any such changes in writing.
Appealing against our decision
The person who makes a complaint and the hedge owner can appeal against our decision. Appeals go to the Planning Inspectorate. Either party can appeal if they want us:
- to issue a remedial notice
- not to issue a remedial notice
- to change the terms of a remedial notice
- to withdraw a remedial notice
- to dismiss or relax the terms of a remedial notice
You need to appeal within 28 days of hearing our decision.
You can find more information about appealing against our decision on the government's website.